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Israel paper slams latest plans for ‘apartheid’ highway in West Bank

March 11, 2020 at 11:12 am

Former Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, 6 December 2015 [Brookings Institution/Flickr]

Israeli newspaper Haaretz has slammed plans for new “apartheid” transport infrastructure in the occupied West Bank, in a scathing lead editorial.

“While the public’s attention is focused on the coronavirus and the endless attempts to form a government,” the paper wrote, “Israel has started planning a new road in the West Bank that Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has already nicknamed ‘the sovereignty road’.”

‘Sovereignty’ is the language used to refer to annexation by its proponents.

According to Haaretz, “this is a separate road for Palestinians, and it will let Israel build a settlement in the E1 region”, an area of 4.6 square miles “that has been appended to the municipality of Ma’aleh Adumim [settlement]”.

The paper notes that the road’s “declared intention is to divert Palestinian traffic from Route 1 to a road that will pass through the area’s Palestinian villages and leave Route 1 ‘free’ of Palestinians”. The new road “is supposed to run underneath” the Separation Wall.

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In Bennett’s words, this “will prevent unnecessary friction with the Palestinian population.”

The editorial added that the new road is “a continuation of the ‘apartheid road’ that has separate lanes for Israelis and Palestinians with a wall dividing the lanes.”

“At least Bennett isn’t hiding his plans,” stated Haaretz. “The press statement that announced the construction of the new road ended with the words ‘applying sovereignty – in deeds, not in words’.”

“When this announcement is added to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements a few weeks ago that Israel should resume construction efforts in E1, it’s clear where his right-wing government will be heading if it remains in power – toward annexing territory and deepening apartheid via separate roads and legal systems,” the editorial concluded.